Floating Solar

Catching Some Rays on the Water




PowerUp/Shutterstock.com

Solar panels currently generate only about 1 percent of our nation’s energy needs, but new research from the federal National Renewable Energy Laboratory shows that installation of “floatovoltaics”—floating, electricity-generating photovoltaic panels—on only one-fourth of our manmade reservoirs would generate about 10 percent of U.S. energy needs without taking up valuable real estate. Floatovoltaics cost less to install than traditional, land-based solar panels because there’s no need to clear land or treat soil, and research shows that the natural cooling effect of the water below can boost the solar panels’ power production by up to 22 percent. Of the approximately 100 current floatovoltaic installations, only seven are in the U.S., mostly at wineries in California and water treatment facilities. About 80 percent are in Japan, where limited land and roof space make water-based solar panels especially suitable.


This article appears in the August 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

Feeding Healthy Habits

Today’s barrage of junk food ads can easily influence kids for the worse, but 10 strategies, including visiting farmers’ markets, teaching cooking skills and implementing device-free family meals, can help them choose to eat better.

Beyond Sustainability

Farmers are increasingly exploring inexpensive organic methods to return microbial diversity to the soil, which could help mitigate a warming planet by allowing soil to absorb more carbon.

Aysha Akhtar on Our Symphony With Animals

Through her personal story as a survivor of childhood abuse and the stories of others, the neurologist demonstrates the scientific bond between animals and humans—and how they can heal each other.

Take It Easy on the Eggs

Eating three to four eggs a week increases heart disease mortality by 6 percent and all-cause mortality by 8 percent, a new study found.

Savor Cherries to Lower Metabolic Syndrome Risk

Montmorency tart cherries in juice or capsules lower systolic blood pressure and insulin levels within hours, reducing factors that lead to metabolic syndrome.

Add your comment: